PACC Offshore Services Holdings (POSH) is pushing the autonomous and energy storage technology boundaries for harbour tugs
It has successfully trialled autonomous navigation and artificial intelligence (AI) innovations in Singapore this year and is studying the use of batteries, 3D printing and drones.
POSH conducted sea trials of autonomous vessel technology on ship-handling tug POSH Harvest in partnership with ST Engineering during 2020. They tested autonomous navigation, remote control and other technologies during the Smart Maritime Autonomous Vessel (SMAV) project. This is part of a wider research and development (R&D) strategy for POSH and ST Engineering.
POSH Semco general manager for global operations Captain Priyadarshan Pandey confirmed the successful trials will continue at least to the end of the year during Riviera’s Offshore Support Journal, Asia virtual conference on 2 December.
“POSH autonomous tug tests are still going on and we have had positive results,” said Capt Pandey. “We are doing R&D testbeds for autonomous harbour tugs and for electric-powered harbour tugs for short voyages in Singapore, which can reduce our carbon footprint and improve reliability,” he said.
These trials were undertaken in various harbour operations with speeds up to 8.5 knots, while POSH Harvest was in autonomous waypoint navigation mode.
POSH converted its harbour tug into an autonomous vessel incorporating hazard detection, collision avoidance and NERVA ship management systems.
Within these trials, onboard sensors detected potential hazards and onboard AI algorithms provided information for route changes to prevent collisions during autonomous waypoint navigation. This algorithm works in accordance with IMO’s international collision avoidance regulations (COLREGS), particularly for overtaking, head-on and route crossing.
POSH also installed a remote centralised control and health monitoring systems on 2010-built POSH Harvest, using this as a springboard to implement condition-based monitoring systems across its fleet.
Capt Pandey said POSH is looking into installing a remote machinery operation system where sensors and software are installed on board and controlled from the shore side. “Condition-based parameter monitoring will result in higher reliability,” he said. “Smart vessels will be a game-changer, reducing the carbon footprint.”
POSH is considering using hybrid propulsion to further reduce its environmental footprint for tugs and offshore support vessels.
“On electrification, we are doing tabletop studies with stakeholders,” said Capt Pandey. “The final results covering costs and benefits are still to come.”
On other innovations, POSH is working with class societies to consider 3D printing for small spare parts and looking into underwater hull inspections using drones.
Technologies for improving vessel efficiencies and reliability will be discussed during Riviera’s Vessel Optimisation Webinar Week, 7-11 December - use this link for more details and to register for these events